Follow Your Food: Spring Latkes

Memorial Day is the unofficial marker of our transition from Spring into Summer. Now the sun rises early and sets late, giving plants longer hours of solar radiation for photosynthesis and metabolism. The increased photon energy provided by longer days allows for greater glucose sugar production. Naturally, as the plant makes more sugar, it must be allocated for storage. So, to keep up with energy production, the roots of certain species develop to accommodate the glut of glucose and store it as a carbohydrate. Over time this storage unit becomes a viable food crop, which we all enjoy in the form of a carrot or a beet. This trait to store increased energy is not ubiquitous among all species. Normally, it is either something represented in perennial plants, who must survive for a number of years or has been cultivated in annual plants from years of farming. Most plants would prefer to allocate available resources directly towards reproduction and setting a flower head. Eventually the fertilized flower develops into a fruiting body to provide life to a new generation, or to a hungry table. This requires an immense amount of energy, and if the plant has not met a critical mass of photosynthetic capacity, reproduction can stress a plant. So, it is critical that the season is right and the days are long to plant a fruiting crop. As Spring is to green, summer is to color; that color is derived by new growth in root and fruit crops. This week we saw an example the shape and color of early summer food with fresh Zucchini and Carrots.

Fortunately, for most, the introduction to summer is met with an extended weekend. I know how I will spend these long days ahead; sharing food and late afternoon memories with friends to grow our roots deeper.

This is an amended recipe to one I found online for some vegetable latkes (or fritters, whatever you prefer). I must say, this is an easy and delicious way to use seasonal produce, and nothing but seasonal produce. If you go online, there are a lot of iterations of this meal. I went with what worked best for the materials I had on hand. Find what works best for you. But here is a little kick to get you on your way…

Ingredients to serve 4 Latkes:

  • 2 small Zucchini, shredded (Groundwork Organics)
  • 3-4 medium Carrots, peeled and shredded (Organic Redneck)
  • 1 medium Potato, boiled and mashed (Rainshadow Organics)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced (Groundwork Organics)
  • 1 Green Onion, chopped (Cinco Estrellas)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme (Sagestruck Herbary)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (Rainshadow Organics)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or both!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Half & Half

Cooking instructions:

  1. Begin by prepping your zucchini and carrots by shredding with a large-holed cheese grader. If you are like me and lack this piece of equipment, this can be done with some dextrous knife work. Transfer veggies to a collander, add the salt and mix. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or so.
  2. Add the potato to water and boil until soft all of the way through. This can be accomplished more quickly if the potato is quartered beforehand. Remove potato to a bowl, add the half & half and mash.
  3. Add the Flour and Baking powder to a separate bowl and mix.
  4. Squeeze the veggies dry, using either just your hands or a cheesecloth, and transfer to a bowl. Add the Garlic, Paprika, Cayenne and Thyme. Mix together. Now add the mashed up potato, mix. Lastly, add the flour/baking powder and mix.
  5. Once mixed, grab a medium sized handful and pack into a ball, repeat 3 times. Place the uncooked latkes on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes so that they hold form better while cooking.
  6. Heat up 2 Tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add the packed latkes. Cook for 3-5 minutes and turn. They should be slightly charred and crisp when flipped. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Fin!

I did not have the ingredients at my disposal to make an adequate sauce for serving, but these would be amazing served with a yogurt based side. Perhaps yogurt, cucumber and lemon.

This was so easy, so good, and almost 100% local, that it may just become a staple in my diet.

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Follow Your Food: Artichoke Soup

Artichokes in Oregon? That doesn’t sound right, but indeed it is. These artichokes are grown just outside of Eugene at Groundwork Organics, and represent a minority category of American artichokes grown outside of Southern California. The U.S is the world’s 9th largest global producer of artichokes, behind Mediterranean states like Spain, Northern Egypt, and Italy. Just about 100% of domestically grown commercial artichokes come from America’s own Chaparral climate in California’s agrarian basins. 80% of that yield is found solely in Monterey County, one of the southernmost regions in the state. So, finding regional varieties here in Oregon is a rarity, and it represents the nuanced capacity of diversified small farms.

Despite my preconceptions, I just learned that artichokes are, in fact, incredibly healthy. They are packed with plant compounds that contribute to a number of medicinal benefits. First, they are very high in antioxidants, more than most any other plant. This is thanks to the presence of bioacive compounds lutolin and apigenin, which help prevent cellular oxidation from free radical molecules. It is good that artichokes are difficult to eat raw, because the bioavailability of these compounds actually increases as the plant tissue softens from cooking. A journal of medicine, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, published a reseach study that concluded that steaming artichokes increased the antioxidant capacity 15-fold, boiling increasing up to 8-fold. Now, I don’t know about you, but I want to eat something that gets better through cooking. Aside from antioxidants, artichokes are high in phenolic compounds, which are known to help lower bad cholesterol and help fight cancerous cell mutation. Its cultivation from wild thistle to a staple food crop was a project of the Greeks, Romans and Spanish Moors. Maybe this is why some of history’s grandest empires arose from the Mediterranean coast. All hail the Ceasar of superfood!

For those who have not roasted, baked or stewed their artichokes from this past week, here is a recipe to get you jump started. It has been a grey, rainy day, reminiscent of late fall. So, to combine the feeling of Fall with the palate of Spring, here is a recipe for a hearty Artichoke soup. This was pulled from an online food blog called Shutterbean, so I make not claim to be the originator, but I certainly did enjoy it! I will say, this recipe combined perfectly with some roasted carrots from Radicle Roots.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. artichoke hearts,  roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
  • chopped parsley, for serving
  • warm sourdough bread, for serving

Cooking Instructions:

Working in batches, purée 2 cups artichoke hearts with 2 cups water in a blender. Transfer puréed artichokes to a 6-qt. pot with the butter, chicken broth, garlic, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

In a small jar or bowl, whisk together cornstarch with 1⁄2 cup cold water. Vigorously whisk cornstarch mixture and heavy cream into soup. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain soup through a mesh strainer into a clean pot over low heat; discard solids. Ladle soup into 6 bowls, garnish with parsley, and squeeze a lemon wedge over each. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

The recipe for the carrots is Moroccan Roasted Carrots with a Dukkah spice and yogurt sauce. The Moroccan Carrots require more complex ingredients than I traditionally aim for, so I pieced my Dukkah together with what I had available. Cook what works for you!

Ingredients

  • 8 Large Carrots, scrubbed (Radicle Roots)
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed (Groundwork Organics)
  • 1 ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. hot paprika
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Dukkah

  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. mixed peppercorns (or just black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seeds
  • ¾ tsp coarse salt or Maldon salt

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt, or plain whole milk yogurt (Flying Cow Dairy)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint (Sagestruck herbary)
  • 1 ½ tsp. chopped dill
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3-5 tsp. water (for consistency

For the carrots:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400˚ F

2. Place carrots, olive oil, garlic, spices, and salt in a roasting pan and toss until the carrots are coated well.

3. Roast for 45 minutes until soft in the middle and caramelized on the outside. Turn carrots halfway through roasting time.

For the dukkah:

1. Toast almonds on a sheet pan for 3-4 minutes. You can do this in the oven while the carrots are roasting. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the sunflower seeds for 1-2 minutes and set aside.

3. In that same pan over medium heat, toast the fennel seeds and peppercorns for about 30-45 seconds until fragrant. Set aside.

4. Do the same with the sesame seeds for 45 seconds. Set aside.

5. Using a pestle and mortar, first crush the fennel seeds and peppercorns. Add the almonds and crush into small pieces. Then add the sunflower seeds and crush again. Lastly mix in the salt and sesame seeds. This can be made ahead and stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.

For the yogurt sauce:

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. The sauce should be runny but not too watery. Add more water if too thick or more yogurt if too thin. Taste for seasoning.

Assembly:

You can keep the carrots in the roasting dish for a rustic look, or plate them on a serving dish. Drizzle the yogurt sauce over top, sprinkle with sumac (optional), and garnish with a good amount of dukkah. You can serve the extra yogurt sauce on the side.

I do feel like I have slighted you by not using my own pictures for this blog, as the images above are from the blog writers of “Shutterbean”, for the soup, and “I Will not East Oysters” for the carrots. Kudos to their hard work! I will try to get my own shots up later.

Follow Your Food: Baked Polenta “Pasticciata”

This week as we were receiving produce from the fields, Gigi from Windflower Farm stopped by with boxes filled with a colorful array of mustard greens, kale, turnips, and mixed chois. While we were stacking the waxed boxes in the warehouse, I mentioned to Gigi my excitement to include such beautiful produce in our shares this week but have a hard time finding recipes for cooking fresh mustard. She stopped what she was doing to recommend pairing the greens with pork. It was just a quick suggestion, but that little bit of sharing got my mind opened up to new kitchen ideas to diversify how I use greens outside of salad lunches. Every farmer that walks though our door wants comes with their own bite sized suggestion to share how they use these crops. The accumulation of these conversations adds up to create a robust foundation of the knowledge required to eat seasonally. These little moments that arise during our conversations with farmers provide access to information that simply does not exist while browsing though the supermarket.

To often, we shop individually. When left to our own devices, our food decisions are often stressed by imperfect information regarding buying responsibly, sourcing and finding a healthy diet. Ultimately this requires more time to read labels, check prices and find a good tomato in February. We have all been there: walking out through the sliding doors of the grocery store, pushing a full cart, wondering if you could have shopped a little more efficiently, a little more responsibly. As we engage more directly with those who live to grow our food, we gain a better idea of what exactly we are buying. By getting involved with local food systems, we know our money is going towards supporting not only personal health, but it helps develop the community around us. As we open up the dialogue around food,  perspective changes from prescriptive dining, to descriptive eating, where meals are flexible and revolve around what is seasonally available. With this shift comes the understanding that there aren’t really tomatoes in February, and instead creates the question, “what do I do with mustard greens?” It is an exciting question to confront because it requires reaching outside of our world to share ideas with other people. That question is an opportunity to learn what others in the community are doing in their kitchen, and try something new.

In talking with Gigi, my confoundment with mustard greens turned into an opportunity to expand my cooking knowledge. So, to continue the trend, I will pass on what I learned. Whether or not you cook this recipe, I hope that it inspires a new way to cook seasonally in your kitchen.

This recipe is pulled, and altered, from a cookbook by Esquire called “Eat like a Man”. Below is the recipe, with my own adjustments marked with an asterisk. The actual recipe does not actually call for mustard, but it seemed an ammenable alteration. The mustard’s bite provides sharp contrast to the rich, nutty flavor of pork. For anyone who does not eat meat, a similar effect could be gained by sauteing an egg with the greens, then baking in walnuts. Who knows, your alteration could make this even better! But i digress… and here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Polenta:

9 cups water

2 tsp coarse salt

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cup ground cornmeal (Hummingbird Wholesale)

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Ground black Pepper

Sausage: 

2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used olive oil*)

4 garlic cloves, chopped (Groundwork Organics)

2 lb ground pork (DD Ranch)

Red pepper flakes *

1 cup milk (Gerry’s Dairy)

2 cups chopped mustard greens (Windflower Farm) *

1/2 red onion (Cinco Estrellas) *

12 sage, or tarragon leaves (Sakestruck herbary)

Cooking Instructions:

To make the polenta: Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt and olive oil, reduce the heat until the water is simmering. Gently rain the cornmeal into the simmering water; add slowly and whisk as you pour to prevent lumps. Cover and set on a very low heat; periodically remove the lid and stir. The polenta will get very thick. After 25-30 minutes, or so, stir in the parmesan, butter, and pepper. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to stir.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

To make the sausage: In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy (or heat the oil). Saute the garlic and herbs, onion until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and pepper flakes and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up any chunks, and cook until the pork loses its pink color and is slightly brown around the edges. Add in the mustard, and sit until it begins to wilt, less than 1 minute. Add the milk,  cover and reduce heat to braise. Cook until almost no liquid remains, 20 min.

Spread oil in the bottom of a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Pour the polenta in first, covering evenly. Spoon the sausage mixture over top. Then, top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese and a bit more parmesan. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it cool for a bit, and then serve.

If you get the pork and polenta going at the same time, the total cooking period is about 50 minutes. This dish is easy, has simple prep, and it loaded with flavor!

 

 

Follow Your Food: Thai Chicken Larb

In my last post I talked about how food is a vehicle to connect with culture outside of our own, and did a recipe on Thai Red Curry to bring some eastern flavor into our Kitchen, and the curry was just awesome. Also, this time of year there is a lot of fresh, brassicas growing, which means cooking dishes with sharp mustard flavors and Asian origin. So, naturally, this time around I wanted to continue the Thai trend. It is also the advent of regional spring lettuce season. Crisp, turgid lettuce leaves provide the perfect vessel for wrapping up a lot of flavor without soaking in juices. Now, I am not opposed to wiping my plate clean with a hearty piece chunk of baguette; but for the sake of the spring, the juicier, the better!

The lettuce I am using comes from this week’s produce box. These mixed varieties of romaine and red leaf come from James of Radicle Roots Farm, which is a sustainable market garden located just 12 miles outside of Bend. Their philosophy is simple, “healthy soil grows healthy food, which is the underlying principal for cultivating a reciprocally sustainable agrarian system. As first generation farmers, their goal is to bring vibrant energy and a passion for future generations to our local food system. I will write more about James and Radicle Roots at a later date, once I can get out to the farm with him and dig into his operation. But for now, let his lettuce speak as a testament to their quality care and fresh produce.

I was talking with James this Tuesday when he came by to drop off his produce for the week, and inspired me on the idea of using his lettuce as a wrap. So I set off to find a good recipe for lettuce wraps, and found one that incorporates Thai Larb (or Laap).  Larb is the national dish of Laos and has been incorporated into the culinary  tradition northern Thailand where there ay many people of Laotian descent. It combines raw or cooked minced meat, spices, mint, basil and is often served on lettuce leaves. It is traditionally a spicy dish, where spice adds complexity into the flavor of a dish. Southeast Asian meals derive their spice from capsicum chilis, cumin, garlic, and ginger. The watery lettuce leaves counterbalance the heat, and cool your palate at the end of a bite. This provides a rather refreshing physical experience to dining on a warm, sunny day. Since it is not quite pepper season in the high desert, I brought in spice with red chili flakes, garlic from Groundwork Organics and ginger from Bob at Tumalo Fish and Vegetable Farm. And because it is the aforementioned spring brassica season, I chopped up some of Windflower Farms asian greens to add some mustardy zest into the mix.

I pulled my recipe from one I found by Williams Sonoma. Due to what I had in the pantry, and what is available seasonally, I made some adjustments. No doubt it is good with or without amending the original format.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, since that is what is in my pantry)
  • 2 Tbs Asian sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and light green portions
  • 1 1/2 Tbs peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I would also recommend finding a red thai chili to cook in)
  • 1 1/4 lb ground chicken (I used chicken thighs, which I diced up myself)
  • Lettuce leaves for serving
  • Bean sprouts and fresh cilantro and basil leaves for serving
    • I did not have either the basil or the sprouts, but I did add in sliced hakurei turnips from Windflower Farm as a garnish, which was spot on

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add half the soy sauce mixture and cook 1 minute more.
  3. In a wok or large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add half the soy sauce mixture and cook 1 minute more.
  4. To serve, spoon about 3 Tbs. of the chicken mixture into a lettuce leaf, top with bean sprouts, cilantro and basil, and wrap the lettuce around the filling. But that is just the recommended serving style. To do this family style, I put all of the add ons on a few plates and allowed for self serve. Put the the remaining soy sauce mixture alongside in a small bowl for dipping

This dish is just amazing, and I cant even imagine how much better it would be if I had some basil, bean sprouts and thai chilis on hand…

 

Follow Your Food: Asparagus

 

I have already written a few time about the effect of spring in our fields. Spring also offers us special ingredients to use for our meal. As this is the season of first life and growth, many of the crops farmers harvest are at their most tender stage in the plant life cycle. This past week’s produce box hosted the true taste of tender spring with Springbank Farm’s Asparagus.

Asparagus, or Asparagus officionalis, is the perfect spring crop. Due to the value of this crop and the short season in which it grown, agrarian European communities have long viewed asparagus season as the highlight of the foodie calendar. Right now the flavor of its young shoots are tender and delicate as the plant accumulates water. Despite being 93% water, the juvenile shoots are packed with concentrated  nutrient densities of Iron, Vitamin K, and B Vitamins (Folate, Riboflavin and Thiamine).  There is rich with the amino acid asparagine, from which the plant derives its name. As an amino acid, asparagine facilitates the synthesis of proteins in our body. Although non-essential, asparagine’s contribution to protein biosynthesis is shown to be valuable in quite a number of ways. Its most prominent role play out in our nervous system by contributing to neuron growth and signal transmission across nerve endings. This amino acid may also prove important for the avid outdoorsman by smoothing liver function, which, in turn, leads to improved athletic stamina and builds resistance to nagging fatigue. Finally, asparagine is a fine complement to a vegetarian diet to increase the bioavailability of plant based proteins. I would say that this is a power packed vegetable for the lifestyle many of us choose to pursue here in Central Oregon!

Unfortunately,  its only a short time. Since asparagus is an herbaceous perennial, its structure becomes more robust as the season progresses. In the later weeks of springtime, the apical buds begin to open up, or “fern out”. At this point, the once tender stalks begin to lignify as more resources are directed to photosynthetic and reproductive tissues. So, make the most out of this spring, and every spring by sharing this wonderful crop in meals while it is still around. So to help, we have a recipe that won over our stomach’s. This week we want to tackle breakfast. Since it is the first meal of the day, a hearty breakfast is critical to fueling an action packed day at work, in the mountains, on the river or a high grade climb. Often times the tight schedule that comes with such a lifestyle prevents us from really being able to invest time into creating a real morning meal. Well the weekend is a perfect time to get it going and create something special to share!

Last time I shared some good ol’ Red Beans and Rice. This time I pulled a recipe from Lucinda Quinn’s second cookbook, Mad Hungry Cravings, and found an Asparagus and Spinach Frittata. I will let the rest speak for itself:

Ingredients:

Frittata, serves 6:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound of asparagus with the ends trimmed

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 lemon

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

10 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Sauce:

1 tablespoon capers

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 scallions, finely chopped (I used shallots)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375, with the rack in the middle position. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium- high hea. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it shimmers, add the asparagus and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until the asparagus is lightly browned in spots. Transfer to a plate, squeeze the lemon juice over it, and let cool
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic, spinach, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for just about a minute.
  3. Whisk the eggs and milk in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour into the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs begin to scramble but are still very wet. Remove from heat.
  4. Distribute a layer of the asparagus over the eggs, pressing them gently into the mixture. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the frittata is set.
  5. Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the salt, pepper, capers, scallions, parsley, oil and vinegar into a small bowl
  6. Slice frittata into wedges and serve with sauce.

Recipes for CSA Share: 10-29-14

This week’s ingredients are colorful, wholesome and the perfect representation of the transition of the seasons. All of this week’s recipes are filling and nutritious, perfect for these cold fall nights, and contain many of the items you’ll find it this week’s CSA shares.

Winter Squash Chili

This quick, fall chili is easy for weeknights and doesn’t require hours of roasting. The sweetness of the squash gives it great flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser with kids who can top their bowls with whatever they like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium winter squash (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black or red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C. vegetable broth (or other broth you have on hand, water works too)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juiced
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped mild green chiles (or sub canned chipotles for more heat and smoky flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional toppings: green onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatillo salsa (recipe below), or cooked bacon

 Method:

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise with a heavy, sharp knife. Use a dish towel to get a good grip – cutting from stem to tip.
  2. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Pierce the skin with a fork a few times, and place cut side down in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 inch water. Micrwave on high about 8-9 min. or until tender. You can do one half at a time if you don’t have a big enough microwave. Let cool.
  3. Heat oil in a large dutch oven (or other deep, heavy-bottom pan) over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Sautee, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent (about 5 min.)
  4. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 min. Stir frequently so garlic is well incorporated and doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in beans, broth, tomatoes, chiles, and spices. Simmer, covered about 10 min. Uncover, stire and cook another 10 more min.
  6. Back to the squash, peel off the outer skin with a paring knife. Cut into ½” chunks.
  7. Stir squash into bean mixture; cook 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Serve warm topped with sour cream, green onions, cheddar cheese, bacon or whatever sounds good!

Simple Balsamic Chard

Vinegar lovers who haven’t tried balsamic on your greens… your life is about to change. Balsamic vinegar is fantastic on steamed or sautéed on spinach, kale, chard and any other dark green. Best part is it’s extremely easy and pairs great with any Italian, American or Greek dish you have planned. Once you’ve had a taste of this method, you’re sure to make chard a regular part of your meal planning – and with it’s incredible nutritional benefits your body will thank you.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of chard (or other green like spinach, kale or collard greens)
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-3 Tblsp. good balsamic vinegar, to taste

Method

  1. Clean and remove the woody stems of your greens. Roughly chop in to 2″ pieces.
  2. Heat oil and garlic in large, flat pan over medium heat. Start slow and be careful not to burn the garlic. Sautée the garlic 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add chard and sauté 5-6 minutes until desired doneness.
  4. Toss in salt and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Roasted Potato Nachos with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Are you ready for some football?! This is the perfect Thursday night dinner the whole family will love. If you make the salsa in advance, it’s also quick and easy for an after wok meal. Top with the suggestions below or whatever you have on hand.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. fresh tomatillos
  • 2 fresh jalapeños
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. salt

Method

  1. Remove tomatillo husks and rinse under warm water. They’ll be sticky at first but the water will rinse most of that off.
  2. Place tomatillos, jalepanos and unpeeled garlic on baking sheet and broil for 7-8 minutes, turning all once halfway through. Tomatillos and peppers should be charred and softened.
  3. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Peel the garlic and seed the peppers.
  4. Add all ingredients (including onion, cilantro and salt) to a blender or food processor and pulse to desired salsa consistency.
  5. Store salsa in refrigerator for up to 1 week or devour immediately.

Roasted Potato Nachos

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs. new potatoes (gold, red, purple or fingerling)
  • 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 C. shredded, cheddar cheese (or other mild, hard cheese blend)
  • 1 C. Tomatillo Salsa (recipe above)
  • 1/2 C. green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 C. sour cream (optional)
  • Other topping ideas: pulled porkbacon, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, avocado, canned corn (drained), black beans

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Scrub and rinse potatoes and cut in to 1″ cubes. No need to peel.
  3. Toss potatoes in olive oil, just enough to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes. A fork should slide easily in to potatoes.
  5. Top with cheese and salsa and bake for another 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Top with remaining ingredients and any other desired toppings and serve immediately. These make great leftovers too!

Recipes for CSA Share: 10-22-14

The bounty of fall is here and it’s so colorful! Each one of this week’s items has its own unique flavor that can be paired wonderfully together to celebrate the start of the season. The below recipes utilize all of this week’s share items and some other basic ingredients you probably already have on hand. Some of the other linked ingredients below are available to add to your weekly order!

Roasted Root Veggies (beets, sunchokes and sweet potatoes)

A great alternative for those already tiring of fall squash, this recipe is wonderful on its own as a vegetarian dinner, or paired with a hearty oven-roasted (or slow cooker) beef brisket. You can cut your veggies to any size you prefer – just be sure that they’re all relatively the same size to cook evenly.

Ingredients

½ lb. beets (trimmed, peeled)
½ lb. sunchokes (about 6, scrubbed, no need to peel!)
½ lb. potatoes (peeled)
2 medium sized carrots (peeled)
1 ½ Tblsp. Dried rosemary
3 Tblsp. Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Cut all veggies in to same desired size, about 1 in. diameter
  • Toss all ingredients together to evenly coat
  • Lay mixture out in one even layer on a baking sheet
  • Roast 40-45 minutes (mixing around halfway through) or until beets and carrots are fork tender

Optional: You can add in peeled, whole cloves of garlic halfway through for a delicious flavor boost. Just make sure you add them before you toss the veggies at the halfway point so they get a light oil coating.

Fava Bean Burgers with an Asian Daikon Radish and Carrot Slaw

Adding Asian flavors to seasonal fall produce is a great way to inject some new, fresh flavor on a dark fall evening. The burgers can be eaten the day of or pre-made and frozen for a quick weeknight dinner later in the week. Experiment with condiments like wasabi mayonnaise, sriracha, sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce and more!

Ingredients

Fava Bean Burger Patties

2 cups shelled fava beans
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. curry powder (or paste)
1 clove garlic, minced finely
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
½ cup canola oil (spike with some sesame or chili oil if you have it)

Daikon Radish and Carrot Slaw

½ cup rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave (or white sugar)
¼ tsp. salt (or celery salt if you have it)
¼ tsp. mustard powder
3 Tblsp. sesame oil (or canola oil)
1 medium daikon radish, sliced in to thin strips (or grated on sturdy cheese grater)
3 carrots, peeled and sliced in to thin strips (or grated on cheese grater)
½ cup chopped scallions

Method

  • Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for about a minute then immediately run under cold water in a colander. Drain thoroughly.
  • While the beans cool, wilt the spinach in a hot pan with 1 Tblsp. of the oil over medium heat and set aside.
  • With your fingernails peel the skins of the fava beans. Discard the skins and add the beans to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add spinach, rice, spices, garlic, and the remaining oil. Mash with a potato masher until you have a crumbly mixture that is well blended. This will be the consistency of the patties so mash to your preference. The finer the mash the better the burgers will hold together.
  • Add the spinach, cilantro and breadcrumbs. Taste the mixture and adjust if necessary. Add the egg and mix well.
  • Shape the mixture in to 1 inch thick patties, 2 – 2 ½ inches in diameter, all uniform in size. Place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. If you’re freezing any of the patties for later use, now is the time. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
  • As your burgers chill, prepare your slaw. Combine vinegar, agave and spices in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in oil. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. (This slaw is even better if prepared the day before and left in the fridge to incorporate the flavors overnight)
  • When ready to cook the patties, heat the remaining oil in a cast iron (or other deep non-stick frying pan) over high heat. Once a couple of drops of water in the pan pop, the oil is ready. Add the burgers a couple at a time and fry until golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes per side. Drain cooked patties on a paper towel.
  • Serve the burgers topped with the slaw and any Asian condiment that sounds good and enjoy!

Pear and Basil Collins

This twist on a classic cocktail is a refreshing, seasonal sip to pair with the fava bean burgers or to simply enjoy for a homemade happy hour after work. This recipe uses tonic water but you can easily substitute soda water or diet tonic water to cut calories. You can also mix in more sweetener to the finished cocktail if you’d like it sweeter.

Ingredients (Makes 2 cocktails)

1 medium ripe pear, peeled, cored and cubed
2 shots of fresh lemon juice
2 shots of simple syrup (recipe below)
5-6 basil leaves
Gin (or vodka)
Ice in tall Collins glass (or pint glass)
Tonic Water

  • In a food processor or blender, combine the first three ingredients and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • Divide the ice evenly between two glasses (enough to fill halfway). Muddle the basil on the ice with a muddler or the back of a metal spoon.
  • Add 1-2 shots of gin to each glass, however much you prefer
  • Divide the pear mixture evenly between each glass. You may have a little leftover. Don’t forget to leave space for the bubbles!
  • Top with tonic water and stir.